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MLB still waiting for financial documents

PHOENIX -- The proposed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers
to real estate developer Frank McCourt probably won't be put on the
agenda for next week's owners' meeting, a high-ranking baseball
official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be identified,
said that while there was an outside chance McCourt could complete
paperwork in time for the Nov. 20 meeting in Chicago, it was
unlikely.

Owners probably won't meet again until mid-January, but the
official said that if the deal is ready for a vote before that
time, commissioner Bud Selig could call for an earlier meeting or a
vote by telephone conference call.

The Los Angeles Times, quoting an unidentified baseball
official, also reported Tuesday that the sale wouldn't be put to a
vote at next week's meeting.

McCourt announced Oct. 10 that he had agreed in principal to
purchase the Dodgers from News Corp., a deal worth $430 million.
The contract contains a Dec. 31 deadline for completion of the
financial documents and a Jan. 31 date for closing the transaction.

A person familiar with the negotiations, also speaking on the
condition of anonymity, said McCourt was in the process of
submitting the required documents to the commissioner's office.

The person also said McCourt, a Boston area real estate
developer, has not considered razing Dodger Stadium and building a
new facility.

Despite having one of baseball's highest payrolls in recent
years, the Dodgers haven't qualified for the playoffs since 1996
and haven't won a postseason game since the 1988 World Series.

Team president Bob Graziano, executive vice president of
business operations Kris Rone, and senior vice president Tom
Lasorda are in the final years of their contracts.

General manager Dan Evans and manager Jim Tracy are under
contract for next year, and the Dodgers recently retained six
coaches, signing them to contracts for the 2004 season.

Corey Busch, the point person for the McCourt group, has met with
several Dodgers executives since the agreement was reached last
month.

"With the absence of a formal approval, the McCourts have not
been able to be intimately involved at this point, but several of
us have had productive meetings with Corey here at the stadium,"
said Dodgers senior vice president Derrick Hall, also in the
final year of his contract. "There has been no indication how they
will handle the current management team here, but it is clearly
their prerogative to make changes they deem necessary."

Hall said Evans and his staff are free to make player moves.

"Dan and Jim both are well down the track in planning and
preparation for the 2004 season, which is where they need to be,"
Hall said.